Fiorentina are facing third away game this week, arguably the toughest one. The viola still didn't manage to win three consecutive games this season between the two competitions, and perhaps tomorrow is the right time. After defeating Verona away in Serie A, and then Guingamp in Europa League, hopefully, visiting Sardegna will be equally pleasant. But, Zdenek Zeman's Cagliari are going to be a tough opponent. Despite their home form being far from impressive - they are yet to win at Sant'Elia, the isolani are playing better with each game.
Vincenzo Montella has almost all the players on his disposal, except, obviously, Giuseppe Rossi and Federico Bernardeschi, as well as il capitano Manuel Pasqual. There might be two significant changes compared to the game against Hellas last Sunday - Alberto Aquilani's performance against Guingamp seems to have bought him place in the starting eleven instead of Mati Fernandez, while Jose Balanta will probably sit this one out, after two consecutive games this week. It is expected that Nenad Tomovic will take his place, despite not so impressive performance against Guingamp. Another possible change might be up front. Montella is, reportedly, thinking of partnering Josip Ilicic and Mario Gomez up, in which case Juan Cuadrado would start as a right wingback. Or, more probably, Joaquin will get another start on the right side, with Cuadrado as seconda punta, behind SuperMario.
Cagliari, as previously stated, are improving from week to week. They are still without a home win, but last week they got a point away at Napoli, even though they perhaps deserved even more than an encouraging 3-3 draw. The cagliaritani are facing some injury problems. They will probably be without one of the most talented left backs in the league, Nicola Murru. Bigger problem for Zeman is that Marco Sau, a player that Antonio Conte said to be following and might call up for Italy, is doubtful. Fiorentina's defense is facing a serious test anyway, because Farias, Ibarbo and Cossu are more than capable of creating trouble. It will be extremely important that Marcos Alonso does his defensive duties the best possible, and helps the backline deal with home team's attacking trio.
To say tradition isn't on our side would be an understatement. In previous 34 matches in Cagliari, the viola scored only three wins! Last one is from 2011, when Alessio Cerci's brace gave Fiorentina a 2-1 victory. Cagliari won 16 times, with 15 games ending in a draw. Our record against Zeman is better, but not good - seven losses, seven draws (including one in Coppa Italia two seasons ago, which Roma won after extra time) and five wins for Fiorentina. Montella's record against Cagliari, not good. One win, one draw and four defeats.
Let's hope it's a spectacular game and another Fiorentina win! Alternatively, we'd live with Fiorentina winning it regardless of the quality of football. Forza viola!
Cagliari (4-3-3): Cragno; Balzano, Cepitelli, Rossettini, Pisano; Ekdal, Conti, Crisetig; Cossu, Farias, Ibarbo
Fiorentina (3-5-2): Neto; Savic, Rodriguez, Tomovic; Alonso, Borja Valero, Pizarro, Aquilani, Joaquin; Cuadrado, Gomez
November 30, 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET
Stadio Sant'Elia, Cagliari